Our Winter Baby

Our Winter Baby

You know how they say opposites attract? That’s completely not Peta and I.

Sometimes it’s like we’re an identical person. She’s stubborn. I’m stubborn. She’s a go-getter. I’m a go-getter. And even though neither of us came from money or anything, we know exactly what we want our life to look like and like to set ambitious goals for our future.

When we got engaged, we started more seriously talking about starting a family. Like, I’d always wanted a winter baby. In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says that success was sometimes a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Winter babies were at an advantage over their peers born later in the year because they had that much more time to grow and learn. So the plan became “In a year and a half, we’ll have done X, Y and Z, then we’ll try for a winter baby.”

So when we found out Peta was pregnant, that plan came crashing down in a very good way.

For the first time in a long time, I had time for myself. I wasn’t on Dancing With the Stars, so there was no crazy schedule and back-to-back season-tour, season-tour. I was able to concentrate on my studios and other business ventures while Peta and her partner killed it on their season.

Now, I’m not a big Vegas person and I’m not a huge golfer – at least not as big a golfer as people think I am – but when I was invited to play in the Derek Jeter Celebrity Invitational golf tournament, I thought why not?

Even though the tournament organizers were going to make all the travel arrangements, I just had this feeling – not a premonition or anything like that – just a feeling that I should drive instead of fly. So I talked to Tony Dovolani, one of my best friends and fellow Dancing with the Stars personality, and asked if it’s cool if we just drive there, so we could jump in the car and drive back if we needed to. He kind of looked at me weird but agreed, so we went off on a buddy road trip out to Las Vegas.

I was in a car with 20 other people on our way to the golf course when Peta called.

“Baby… I have some good news…”

I was elated, but I was surrounded by people, so I tried to play it cool and make it seem like nothing happened. Really, I just wanted to preserve this feeling so Peta and I could share it together – for a little while, at least.

As soon as I hung up the phone, Tony, who has three kids, looked at me and said, “She’s pregnant, isn’t she?” I tried to play it off like, “Why would you even say that?” But Tony just said, “Because I had the same dumbass look on my face when I first found out.” I guess that look is universal.

At that point, I knew I just had to get back. Of course, I felt so bad because Tony had canceled his plane ticket so we could have our little road trip, but he understood how exciting this was for me. So we skipped the rest of the tournament and flew – well, drove really fast – back to Los Angeles, back to Peta.

In that sense, things worked out perfect. It’s exactly what we wanted, though maybe not when or how we’d planned it. But, going back to Outliers, sometimes it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

I may not wear my heart on my sleeve, but I’m so happy for us. The realization that we’re having a baby isn’t like a surprise party where you walk in, everyone yells “happy birthday” and the feeling is gone by the time you blow out the candles – it’s something I keep feeling day after day. Every day is a new surprise, a new gift.

So when I look at Peta getting more and more pregnant and just feel this positive flow of emotions, it’s like hearing the news all over again.


In case you missed it, click here to check out Peta’s reaction on finding out she’s expecting.

Photo Credit: Daniel Zelikovsky

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  1. Maks, you hit it on the nail, that feeling you have about it being with you everyday, it will be with you for the rest of your life because you are now a father forever!

    Posted by: Paty on February 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm
  2. First of all, congratulations on your son! What a miracle, huh?
    Secondly, I am a kindergarten teacher and I have read Outliers. I agree 100% that December, January, February, and March babies are more advanced in so many ways. Way to go on the Winter Baby!
    Enjoy every second! It’s cliche, i know, but it goes fast. I have an almost 15 year old and I can’t believe how fast 15 years have gone by!
    Best wishes on your new little family!

    Posted by: Suzanne Kaberle on February 7, 2017 at 8:39 pm
  3. You bring tear to my eyes. Having a child is the single most wonderful experience I have ever known. She is the love of my life and now so are her children. You to will get to feel all of that when your little one becomes an adult. All I can say is be present , in the moment, enjoy everything, drink it up. It will fly by and leave you breathless and wanting more.

    Posted by: Laura Simqu on February 7, 2017 at 8:37 pm
  4. This is beautiful and it brought tears to my eyes. Baby Shai is lucky to be loved so much. Being born in January is a blessing – speaking as an Aquarian!! I have watched DWTS from the beginning and adore you both. Your talent is amazing to watch and so inspiring. I attended the Maks&Val tour this summer. It was wonderful to see their story come to life onstage and learn about their relationship as brothers. May your family continue to be filled with happiness, good health, and love. Thank you for sharing your story with your fans. ❤

    Posted by: Nicole A. on February 7, 2017 at 8:22 pm
  5. I love this! I, also, am a “Winter Baby (December)”. So happy for your little family.

    Posted by: Kathy Erdman on February 7, 2017 at 7:47 pm
  6. You can always count on Tony for a good laugh But I am seriously so happy for the two of you. And I can’t wait to see the first pictures of Baby Shai, I just know he’s adorable. All the love to your family ❤✨

    Posted by: Shauna on February 7, 2017 at 7:45 pm
  7. Hi Maks, you’re a very good writer, I read all your DWTS blogs and enjoy your viewpoints, I learn so much from you. But this little story touched me immensely, you have a beautiful soul and I love your values, your entire family has always impressed me. I was so happy when you and Peta met and got back together and I waited as patiently as possible for Shai to begin his journey. Here’s wishing the most lovely couple a super happy life with your children dancing beside you. Much love!

    Posted by: Dianna on February 7, 2017 at 2:32 am
  8. I’m so happy for the 3 of you! I had happy tears in my eyes reading your story Maks! I look forward to reading your family stories. The both of you are amazing together. Thank you for sharing a little piece of your world with us

    Posted by: Linda Browning on February 1, 2017 at 5:58 pm